Happy Valentine’s Day! Because you all know how much I dread baking, I’m steering clear of the sweet stuff today and sharing instead my special holiday meal inspired by sumptuous steak dinners at Ruth’s Chris. The first half of the meal, creamed spinach, was posted yesterday. Here’s part deux! Pan-seared ribeyes. Pan-searing is the best way I know how to duplicate those sizzling steakhouse flavors at home.
Over the past year, I’ve done a lot of pan-searing in an effort to perfect my skills. Along the way, I’ve tried different tips and tricks for coaxing the most flavor out of the meat both before and after it hits the skillet. One of the most interesting things I started doing was salting the steaks a day or two ahead of time. My friend Shea shared this trick with me. It’s one she learned from another blogger, Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen. As odd as it sounds, the process works wonderfully in producing phenomenally moist and delicious steaks. Visit Steamy Kitchen for the science behind the steak. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who I had the pleasure of meeting at FoodBlog South a couple of weekends ago, is a food-science whiz and the creative mind behind Serious Eats. He also preaches the glories of salting in his complete guide to pan-seared steaks, a must read for anyone remotely interested in this topic. You can skip the whole advance-salting process and still end up with a decent piece of seared meat. I did it for years. But now that I’ve “salted,” I’m never looking back! Hope you enjoy!
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4 1-pound ribeye steaks (each about 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inches thick)
Kosher salt and freshly ground or coarse black pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces good quality crumbled blue cheese (I prefer Maytag)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground or coarse black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
Gently pat steaks dry with paper towels. Season liberally on all sides with salt and pepper. Transfer to a shallow dish, cover loosely and chill overnight. Alternatively, let sit at room temperature for at least 45 minutes. Meanwhile, make the blue cheese butter. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, blue cheese and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; stir and smash with the back of a spoon until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. In a large heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, heat oil over high heat until it begins to smoke. Working in batches of two, carefully place steaks in pan and cook, flipping frequently, until golden brown and crusty, about 4 minutes total. Reduce heat to medium-high, add butter and continue cooking, occasionally flipping and basting, to desired doneness, about another 6-10 minutes total. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.